Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2013;2(3):77-87. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2013.v2.3.77)

Acute liver failure and liver transplantation.

Akamatsu N, Sugawara Y, Kokudo N


Acute liver failure (ALF) is defined by the presence of coagulopathy (International Normalized Ratio ≥ 1.5) and hepatic encephalopathy due to severe liver damage in patients without pre-existing liver disease. Although the mortality due to ALF without liver transplantation is over 80%, the survival rates of patients have considerably improved with the advent of liver transplantation, up to 60% to 90% in the last two decades. Recent large studies in Western countries reported 1, 5, and 10-year patient survival rates after liver transplantation for ALF of approximately 80%, 70%, and 65%, respectively. Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT), which has mainly evolved in Asian countries where organ availability from deceased donors is extremely scarce, has also improved the survival rate of ALF patients in these regions. According to recent reports, the overall survival rate of adult ALF patients who underwent LDLT ranges from 60% to 90%. Although there is still controversy regarding the graft type, optimal graft volume, and ethical issues, LDLT has become an established treatment option for ALF in areas where the use of deceased donor organs is severely restricted.

KEYWORDS: Acute liver failure, treatment, liver transplantation, living donor liver transplantation (LDLT), optimal graft volume

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